How it all began….

Posted on: March 8th, 2012 by jfdadmin No Comments


Here are the two designs that started it all…..

Living in Hong Kong allowed us the luxury to travel to many different countries – trekking in Nepal, beaching in Bali and Boracay, sight-seeing in Bangkok and Beijing.  Vietnam was our destination in January 1995 – starting in Hanoi and making our way down through Hue, Danang and finally Saigon.  Little did we know the impact of the last stop on this vacation.

Saigon in 1995 was different than the Ho Chi Minh City today. The streets were packed with cyclos ready to take you anywhere, motor bikes, run down buildings and people everywhere. Walking down Le Loi and Dong Khoi filled our senses!  As we walked down Dong Khoi, through the artists street galleries (now a tall high rise), we were struck by the western style to all the artwork.  We stopped in a little corner shop because it had two giant jade color elephants out front.

ABSTRACT (see photo above) caught our eye – totally different from any traditional handicraft we found on any of our Asian travels. This was something from an earlier design time with a very western design influence.  We were drawn to the mix of colors and the combination of eggshell, mother of pearl and colors over foils.

DECO was also fascinating with the careful dusting of foil shadowing the cracked eggshell design. Again, another design was influenced from the Deco style in the 20s and 30s – this was not your traditional local handicraft design.

Light bulbs went off! Of course, these were designs that could be sold in some creative store in New York.! Conversations, research, more conversations and finally a trip planned to New York to find an interested buyer.

The buyers at Frank McIntosh Home at Henry Bendels fell in love with the designs and wrote an order the next day! The buyer at Barneys Japan was also wowed by the designs and placed an immediate order. For both these first customers, the orders were for one size tray and box sets.

And so began the journey that has become J. Fleet Designs….


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